How to Put a Printer on a Windows7 or Vista Network - dummies

How to Put a Printer on a Windows7 or Vista Network

By Dan Gookin

A network printer is any printer “up for grabs” on the network. Officially, it’s a shared printer. It can be a printer connected to a PC on the network or, it can be a printer directly connected to the network..

If the printer is connected to a PC, the computer operator must share the printer, making it available for anyone else on the network to use.

A printer can be connected directly to the network in one of two ways:

  • Add a USB printer directly to the network’s router, if the router features a USB connection. After connecting the printer, access the router’s control program to complete its setup.

  • Add a printer directly to the network, if the printer has an Ethernet port. Simply connect the printer to the network jack and turn it on.

After the printer is turned on and connected to the network, you can direct your PC to use the printer. The first thing to do is determine whether the printer came with its own software installation disc. If so, use the disc and follow its instructions. If not, you can add the network printer for use in Windows 7 and Windows Vista by following these steps:

  1. Open the Control Panel.

  2. Choose View Devices and Printers (Windows 7) or Printer (Windows Vista) from beneath the Hardware and Sound heading.

  3. Click the Add a Printer toolbar button.

    The Add Printer window appears.

  4. Choose the option Add a Network, Wireless, or Bluetooth Printer.

  5. Rather than wait for the inevitable, choose the option The Printer That I Want Isn’t Listed.

  6. Ensure that the option Add a Printer Using a TCP/IP Address or Hostname is selected.

  7. Click the Next button.

  8. Type the printer’s IP address into the Hostname or IP Address box.

    You can often find the IP address by printing the printer’s configuration; check the printer documentation to find out how to use the printer’s control panel to cough up its current configuration, including the IP address.

  9. (Optional) Enter the port name, if you know what it is.

  10. Click the Next button.

  11. Continue with the printer setup.

    If Windows recognizes the printer setup continues rather quickly. Otherwise, you need to choose the printer make and model from the list.

  • There’s no need to make the network printer your PC’s default printer.

  • Obviously, there’s no need to configure a network printer when it shows up automatically in the Printer’s window.

  • If the printer is connected to the network by using one of those tiny printer server dongles, you probably need to configure the printer by using the software that came with the printer server dongle. The configuration program either allows the printer to be used on the network, on your PC, or it provides you with the IP address you can use for these steps.

  • You might also be able to get the printer’s IP address from the router configuration program. The printer’s IP address is listed along with the IP addresses assigned to all devices connected to the router.

  • The printer should set its IP address by using DHCP. You don’t need to know what this term means, but you must make that setting if you’re given a choice.

  • Network printers can also be added by plugging the printer directly into the network. As long as the printer features an Ethernet connection, you can plug it into the router directly. This type of printer may not show up immediately.